The translations of a word can be simple or complex. A dog is a very specific word and another language will have a specific word as an equivalent. Joy is closer to an idea, different cultures might explain it differently. Wabi-Sabi is an idea that requires a paragraph to really explain, but the shortened version boils down to a beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, incomplete. The modern day American explanation of wabi-sabi is a valued antique that has “patina.”
Shalom ventures off into the world of an idea much bigger than any word could do justice. Most cultures around the world translate shalom into the word peace. A seemingly simple word until you see how the variance of the word means many people abuse it for self. The world would like two powers to stop fighting and call it peace, this is a good use of the word. The alcoholic wants every family member to keep their mouth shut under threat of violence. Family members believe they are keeping the peace, not so. A saying I have begun to use over and over, “Peace comes through truth, and truth rarely brings peace.” In a world of fluid definitions, how does one understand a concept.
Shalom: While it is also a greeting to say hello or goodbye, here’s what you are asking for the ones we greet, the Hebrew definition of Shalom would include all of the following… Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. This full version is what God wants for us.
The opening picture is one of my favorite Bible stories captured in a picture. Anything but shalom right! Mark 4:35-41. It’s just a story until you see a picture of it and then that story comes to life as your imagination becomes a visual. The troubling part of this story is the question of the disciples, “Don’t you care if we drown?” Anxiety and fear cause us to ask questions that we know aren’t true. God does care about us and it’s just like the dilemma U2 describes in it’s song Vertigo.
“Lights go down, it’s dark
The jungle is your head, can’t rule your heart
A feeling’s so much stronger than a thought
Your eyes are wide and though your soul, it can’t be bought
Your mind can wander“
In anxious times our mind can wander and experience a Vertigo that causes a question to be planted in our heart. A question that divides and separates us from the One who can bring us the very thing we so desperately need. It’s in these times that we can’t allow the jungle to rule our hearts.
The end of this story ends with the waves turning to a sea of glass with the command of Jesus. The disciples were said to be terrified and asked “Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey Him.” The disciples came to grips with the nature of Christ. The end of Vertigo is almost the same.
“Hello, hello (hola)
We’re at a place called Vertigo (¿dónde está?)
Lights go down, and all I know
Is that you give me something
I can feel your love teaching me how
Your love is teaching me how
How to kneel, Kneel
Shalom my friends, may it be in the fullest sense. Our hearts will be anxious (“In this world you will have trouble” -Jesus), but by God’s grace we choose to remember the promises He has already made. In the case of Vertigo, the instruments tell the pilot where the horizon is when the fog is too thick to see with our eyes.
Remember Christ said that he came that we might have life. I prayer your life today is filled with the Shalom offered by Christ.
2 thoughts on “Shalom/U2/Rembrandt”
Great painting depicting the troubles of this world and our response. Even His disciples who experienced His power were insecure and afraid in threatening circumstances, they were no different than us. As we see from God’s word and all the wonders of him in transformed lives and his creation we still doubt his power. The one who has created has the power over his creation. Us as sheep need to know our Good Shepherd for who He is, our provider, protecter, and One who knows what is good for us. Like we read in 1 Peter 2:23, Jesus entrusted himself to the Father. That is what we need to, that is what faith is.